Letters to the Editor

Actors Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker , as depicted in the film about White House butler Cecil Gaines. File
Actors Oprah Winfrey and Forest Whitaker , as depicted in the film about White House butler Cecil Gaines. File
Posted: August 27, 2013

Enjoy the popcorn, and learn

One of the most effective American history lessons is taking place these days in our movie theaters. Every American, and in particular young people, should experience the movie Lee Daniels' The Butler. It is so well-told and so well-acted by Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and others that it would make an excellent lesson for all young people studying the nation's history. As one who lived during much of what is depicted in the film, I think our educators should take note and make The Butler a lesson in their history classes.

Sy Levy, Plymouth Meeting

No glut of low-wage jobs now

According to Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), a low minimum wage allows businesses to hire low-skilled young people ("Toomey: Don't risk Capitol shutdown," Aug. 21). First, with Pennsylvania's present low minimum wage, just where are those jobs to which the senator is referring? Secondly, a low minimum wage depresses the wages of every other wage earner, including those of a young person's parents and grandparents.

Beverly Hahn, Blue Bell

Toomey knows all about gridlock

When interviewed recently by The Inquirer, Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) seemed rather hypocritical in saying he's "frustrated by the frequent gridlock" in the Senate. The senator needs to hold up a mirror before pointing fingers. Taking the helm of the least productive Senate on record, Toomey is chair of the Senate Republican Steering Committee - charged with steering the GOP more to the right and causing more partisanship. He has filibustered most presidential nominations, causing the most blocked presidential appointments in history. Just recently, he filibustered the transportation bill, and bragged to the tea party that he "did something constructive" by killing it

Jeanette DiLuco, Havertown

Manning did the manly thing

Struggles for equality in the military for women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities are a work in progress. Those who aspired to service embraced core values and principles in the tradition of citizen soldiers that was present at the founding of our republic. After 2001, civilian leaders pressed military officials to abandon the fundamental ideals introduced by the United States into the Geneva Conventions and subsequent international law. They repudiated key provisions of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. But one soldier took it upon himself to act when all others had failed.

We owe a debt to Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. The courage it took to reveal secrets and lies was astonishing. It is equally important to honor the person who has taken the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to a new level by embracing the process of being a transsexual in transition. The gay-pride anthem "I Am What I Am" is nothing if it is not a substantive promise to be true to the self and to the democratic impulse that carries the freight of the struggle for equality. President Obama should pardon Manning. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize would be a fitting recognition - for the U.S. military and the LGBT global struggle.

David R. Applebaum, Philadelphia

Students too true to their schools

Why did The Inquirer bury the "Unprepared for college" article on Page 4 on Thursday, when it should have been smack in the middle of the front page? The article states that almost one-third of students taking the ACT are unprepared for the rigors of college and will need remedial classes, or in all probability will be unsuccessful. This is a startling indictment of both teachers and a system that permits undereducated students to advance. Even though the numbers may be inflated by students taking the test who have no desire to attend college, it should be a wake-up call to the educational system.

Interestingly, the article further states too many students opt for courses in fields where there is little demand, while ignoring professions crying for people. This is the reason unemployment rates are too high, while thousands upon thousands of jobs go begging. Where are the high school student advisers, whose own jobs, I suspect, are at risk at budget-cutting time? When we shortchange our students, we shortchange society.

Ralph D. Bloch, Warrington, ralphdbloch@yahoo.com

Rewards of ruling vs. the people

Community activists in Camden have faced injustice by Superior Court Judge Faustino J. Fernandez-Vina, who rejected the petition allowing a referendum to keep the Camden Police Department. True community policing begins with true residents of Camden. Camden has lost thousands of jobs, and Gov. Christie continues the downward spiral of Camden by dismantling public education and the police department. Christie's reward to Fernandez-Vina for thwarting the right of Camden residents to petition government for redress to save life and property is to nominate Fernandez to the state Supreme Court.

Eulisis Delgado, Camden

Paying for diverse programming

When Philadelphia-based media giant Comcast purchased NBC, federal regulators were likely promised balanced and diverse news, information, and entertainment in order to secure government approval of its purchase. The recent addition of Qatar's satellite news organization, Al Jazeera America, to Comcast's cable lineup must be an example of what they had in mind. I hope that the premiums paid for this new content come from the salaries of Brian Roberts and his management team, rather than any increase in the fees I pay Comcast to be connected to our world.

Tom Messmer, Blue Bell

Knowing it's time for them to go

Regarding your recent editorial, I agree ("Teachers shouldn't get lifetime appointments," Aug. 14). Nor should members of Congress. If they don't perform to voters' satisfaction after two short or six long years, they should be denied tenure - that is, their terms should be limited. Our Founding Fathers certainly didn't envision legislators going to Washington and staying there forever. Serve your country - not just your state - and then go home and get a real job.

Tony Rotondo, Schwenksville, arotondo01@comcast.net

Words for Phils' general manager

Here's my open letter to Ruben Amaro Jr.: When I saw your interview with Charlie Manuel, I had three thoughts. One, you demonstrated that you can't have a whole lot of conscience by making this move with 42 (likely tortuous) games left. Two, your track record proves much more that you are the one who should have been fired before the end of this season, and not Charlie. And three, the amount of respect that Charlie has earned from the fans is inversely proportional to the amount of respect we feel for you.

Sidney Cohen, Mount Laurel

Clearing the Record

In his column Sunday, Harold Jackson incorrectly named the park he walked through on the way to high school 46 years ago. It was Memorial Park.

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